SAN FRANCISCO – Kevin Durant offered hugs and handshakes all around, then left a winner in his reunion with the Warriors.
Durant did a bit of everything in his first trip back to the Bay Area to play the team he helped capture two championships over three years, scoring 20 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 134-117 victory against Golden State on Saturday night.
“My time here at Golden State was so much fun,” Durant said. “It was such a big learning experience, especially learning the game of basketball, a different philosophy. I'm going to take that with me for the rest of my life.”
The NBA Finals MVP during both title runs, Durant missed his initial three shots before making a 3-pointer at the 5:49 mark of the first quarter and finished 8 for 19 from the floor and 1 of 6 on 3s.
Pal Stephen Curry didn't have his best stroke either, going 10 of 17 for 27 points and 2 for 9 from deep as cold-shooting Golden State lost its third straight to the Nets and missed a chance at its first three-game winning streak of the season.
Golden State paid video tribute with “Welcome back KD!” during a first-quarter timeout and plans to so again during his next visit to Chase Center when fans have returned.
“This is something that is such a no-brainer. When Kevin came here and gave us three years of just incredible basketball the least we could do is welcome him back with open arms,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “... A guy that gave everything to us for three years then left with a devastating injury. There should be a lot of love, he did so much for us.”
The Nets had lost three of four but welcomed back Durant after he missed the past three games under COVID-19 quarantine protocols.